Politics

Political Notebook

George W. Bush tells Romney staff to ‘seize the moment’

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke to a VFW convention in Reno.
Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke to a VFW convention in Reno.

George W. Bush, who is skipping the Republican National Convention and has endorsed but not publicly embraced Mitt Romney, conveyed his support for the presumptive GOP nominee’s campaign Tuesday by visiting his Boston headquarters.

Accompanied by wife Laura Bush, the former president was introduced to the staff by Ann Romney before he spoke, a campaign spokeswoman said.

“The former president praised the steady leadership of the campaign and encouraged staffers present ‘to seize the moment,’ ” ABC News reported.

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Mitt Romney did not attend because he was preparing to speak to a VFW convention in Reno.

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While former President George H.W. Bush has appeared with Romney to endorse him, his son has not held the same public event.

The Bushes were in Boston to visit a charter school. George W. Bush also addressed the Global Business Travel Association’s annual conference, where he talked briefly about his values and his struggles with alcohol and at length about his presidency. He also hawked his book, “Decision Points.”

Bush was the day’s keynote speaker for more than 6,500 business travel professionals — ranging from company travel managers to representatives from airlines, hotels, and travel technology firms — gathered for a three-day conference at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

Bush opened by responding to a dig taken at him by Monday’s keynote speaker, comedian Seth Meyers, who said Bush was speaking because he thought GBTA stood for “George Bush is Totally Awesome.”

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Bush, dressed in a suit and light blue tie, countered with: “So GBTA. George Bush Travels Alot.”

Bush did not make any references to the presidential race or Romney during his half-hour speech and half-hour interview with the travel association’s executive director.

Bush said he did not miss much about the presidency.

“I mean, it’s a pain in the [rear] to have to stop at a red light,” he said. “Airplanes are a little tougher these days. But I do miss saluting men and women who have volunteered in the face of danger. I miss being commander in chief.”

And readjusting to civilian life has had its challenges, he said, relaying a story about Laura Bush asking him to do the dishes and referring to it as his “new domestic policy agenda.”

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Asked about his legacy, Bush said he wanted to be remembered as a guy who lived life to the fullest and understood the importance of serving mankind. “The legacy is over,” he said. “I did what I did.” - GLEN JOHNSON AND KATIE JOHNSTON

Budget office says Obama’s health plan will ease deficit

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s health care overhaul will reduce rather than increase the nation’s huge federal deficits over the next decade, Congress’s nonpartisan budget scorekeepers said Tuesday, supporting Obama’s contention in a major election-year dispute with Republicans.

Republicans have insisted that ‘‘Obamacare’’ will actually raise deficits — by ‘‘trillions,’’ according to presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But that is not so, the Congressional Budget Office said.

The agency gave no updated estimate for deficit reductions from the law, approved by Congress and signed by Obama in 2010. But it did estimate that Republican legislation to repeal the overhaul — passed recently by the House — would itself increase the deficit by $109 billion from 2013 to 2022.

As expected, the budget office said the law will cover fewer uninsured people because the Supreme Court ruled that states will not have to sign on to a planned expansion of Medicaid for their low-income residents.

Thirty million uninsured people will be covered by 2022, or about 3 million fewer than projected this spring before the court ruling, the report said.

As a result, taxpayers will save about $84 billion from 2012 to 2022.

That brings the total cost of expanding coverage down to $1.2 trillion, from about $1.3 trillion in the previous estimate. - ASSOCIATED PRESS